Lisa Ngoc Le began research during her second year at UCI, and she considers it to have been a vital part of her undergraduate education. She particularly credits her experienced with helping her develop new ways of looking at solving problems and sharpen her critical thinking skills. Lisa’s passion and dedication to her research were recognized with her receiving the 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for the School of Medicine.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

I research under Dr. Vincent Caiozzo and Dr. Josh Cotter in the “Space Lab,” a lab formerly funded by NASA. My research is in exercise physiology and our current project focuses on the effects of blood flow restriction applied in conjunction with resistance training in the plantar flexor muscle group. We recruit human subjects who participate in an eight-week testing and training schedule in which we observe changes in strength and hemoglobin dynamics.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I first got involved in research as a second year student. I reached out to Dr. Caiozzo’s post-doctorate, Dr. Josh Cotter, at the recommendation of another UCI alumnus who had also been a researcher in the lab. Fortunately, he had just finished a study and I was invited to take part in the planning of a new study.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research has helped me develop new perspectives on experimental design and problem solving. Good science is picky. Seeing how and why experiments are designed the way they are firsthand aided my understanding of the design of other studies. Research also allows you to develop your critical thinking skills. One of the best things about research is that there is no textbook to reference when checking the answers. Answers instead come from lengthy team discussions and long lists of possible ideas garnered from trying to explain expected or unexpected results.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite experience with research was interacting with our subjects. Each subject was unique and it was really exciting to get voluntary subjects who wanted to participate in the study and help make science happen. The best moments were when our participants took an interest in our research and began to ask us questions about the study.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

My future plan is to apply to medical school and become a doctor. I hope to continue to contribute to the scientific community by getting involved in clinical research as a medical student. Research has helped me see medicine in a different light. After all, in the end, the practice of medicine is also the application of scientific research.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Choose a lab that aligns with your interests and a faculty mentor that you can get along with. When you find a lab that matches your interests, the distances you can go with that experience may surprise you. Also, don’t be scared! Don’t let that hold you back from emailing professors or asking your mentor questions. Most of the time, you will look back and be glad that you did.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '16 Lisa Ngoc Le
Nov. '16 Christopher A. Galeano
Oct. '16 Jacquelyn Shader
Sep. '16 Eric Steven Martinez
Aug. '16 Arianna Gomez
Jul. '16 Alexis Hoshino
Jun. '16 Matine Azadian
May. '16 Katie Khuu
Apr. '16 Alexandra Addora Beall
Mar. '16 Patrick Thomas Webb
Feb. '16 Barbara Bernadette Spyrou
Jan. '16 Jane Kim